From Jamie Peipon (Day 201): I do intend to write on my visit to Bucha and Irpin’… unfortunately, as the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to liberate towns and cities in the East, new Buchas are being uncovered. In the picture above is a wall from a building that has been described as a torture chamber. A prisoner was held in this room and etched this text into the very walls which held him there. The text is the Lord’s Prayer. It is hard to imagine the urgency with which this prisoner might have prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and “give us this day our daily bread,” and “deliver us from evil.” It is equally hard to fathom being in this prisoner’s place and praying, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
There’s no good way to segue from those thoughts to other news…
There seems to be a lot of reshuffling and regrouping along the front lines. There are a lot of tiny bits of information that keep coming out, but not enough to draw any solid conclusions about what is going on. What does seem clear is that Russian forces are still in a bit of disarray, and Ukrainian forces don’t seem to have made any significant missteps. Ukrainian intelligence is reporting that they have observed “urgent evacuations” of Russian intelligence and military officers from southern Ukraine and Crimea. At the same time, a Ukrainian official in the city of Melitopol has reported that a Russian column of military equipment was headed towards Crimea. With so much shifting and regrouping happening in such a short time, there is an awful lot of fog over the war at the moment.
There have been reports today of artillery and air attacks around the city of Donetsk. Pictures have emerged of the night sky glowing orange in the occupied city of Makiivka. These types of preliminary strikes, usually designed to break down the area’s defenses, could indicate that Donetsk is the next target for liberation.
It seems like the UAFs are still inching their way closer to Kherson. As I’ve written before, there are no journalists embedded within those units so information is sparse. There are no updates on the rumored negotiations to surrender. It could have already taken place, or negotiations could still be in progress. There are about a million other possibilities as well.
The Financial Times is reporting that the US and allies have been in discussions to provide Ukraine with additional fighter aircraft. Two months ago I wrote about how the US had earmarked funds to train pilots on F-15s and F-16s. I’ve also heard several reports about the training having begun. It would seem odd to invest the time and money into that training if they were just going to discuss it without actually giving the planes so it seems like this might finally happen.
And yet Ukraine has done amazingly well with the equipment they do have. British intelligence has reported that Russia’s 1st Guards Tank Army was in Ukraine in the Kharkiv area. This unit was one of Russia’s best-equipped and well-known units. I write “was” because it apparently no longer exists. It was one of the best-trained groups in Ukraine, and they were almost completely wiped out during this counteroffensive.
Outside of Ukraine, skirmishes have broken out between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Azerbaijan shares a border with Russia but they are not allies. Russia, however, is friendly with Armenia. It is curious timing. It seems likely that Azerbaijan is taking advantage of Armenia’s ally being a little preoccupied at the moment. I do wonder if these types of situations will continue. The governing authorities in Georgia (also part of that same neighborhood between the Caspian and Black seas) have said they are going to hold a national referendum to see if the people want to go to war with Russia. That’s a pretty novel approach and I’m interested to watch it play out.
“But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”